Mass Delusions: How they harm sustainable energy, climate policy, fusion and fusion breeding
Dr. Wallace Manheimer, a member of the CO2 Coalition has recently written a book entitled:
It is available on Amazon and several other vendor web sites. Below is a very brief summary of the book. However, more importantly, the author and publisher got brief reviews of the book by 5 unquestioned experts. Below the summary, their reviews are copied in order they were received.
As in declaration of independence, the book holds this truth to be self-evident, that the real problem the world faces is not (mass delusions of) a climate crisis’, but lack of sufficient energy for the developing parts of the world. To bring the entire human family up to the developed world’s living standard, world power must roughly triple. Solar and wind cannot do this, in fact they are an impediment. Instead, large parts of the world are turning to coal. Nothing can stop this rush, worldwide for a better lifestyle. A turn to nuclear power as rapidly as possible, supplemented ultimately by breeding is the best long-term hope for sustainable power. This book has one of the very few descriptions of fusion breeding. The book has numerous color images, and like all Generis Books, is printed on high quality paper, but is also available on a kindle at a much lower price.
The climate catastrophe mass delusion has been going on for 30 years now. It is not based on scientific evidence but on a fear-mongering narrative. The most serious effect of this narrative is the destruction of our energy system. In a modern society, energy prices drive virtually all other prices. That’s because everything we do requires energy. No surprise that high energy prices are causing more and more households to run into financial problems (“energy poverty”).
Dr. Manheimer’s book is dealing with this critical issue. He gives an elegant overview of the fundamental problems with windmills and solar panels. He explains that the world will and can never rely on these space-extensive energy sources with a very low Energy Return on Investment (EROI). The future will be on nuclear energy.
The author also explains that the past 60 years have shown that pure fusion is not the way to go. Instead, fusion breeding may well be attainable within the coming 35 years. He makes clear that the solution is to use fusion neutrons to breed fuel for thermal nuclear reactors.
This is an exciting solution indeed!
In summary, this book shows in five chapters that neither solar and wind power nor direct nuclear fusion will bring us in a sustainable energy era. For readers who want to know about the different options in sustainable nuclear power technology, this book is a must.
Dr. A.J. (Guus) Berkhout, Emeritus professor of Geophysics, Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) President of Clintel
This book is fresh air in a world full of erroneous views of the world energy system through ignorance and the relentless war on energy from fossil fuels. It emphasizes the importance of energy to our well-being. It points out with undeniable data, that there is neither an energy crisis nor a climate crisis.
The third section, “Some problems with wind and solar power”, discusses the misinformation about wind and solar energies. Both are unreliable by themselves. It shows that Germany has the highest electricity cost because of its significant commitment to wind energy; much higher than its cost in France which is mostly nuclear. Its per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions nevertheless are about double that of France.
The fourth section is about nuclear fusion. It is very technical and well above the knowledge of most readers. It says that atomic fusion for producing the heat to generate electricity is several decades away and might not be possible to achieve. A much easier technology route would be to use the high-temperature neutron-rich plasma to transmute thorium and U238 into fuel for thermal nuclear fission power plants.
Nuclear fission energy is the only source of reliable electricity over the long term. It is essential to understand the importance of reliable electricity. We depend on electricity for the quality of life we enjoy today. The easiest method for using nuclear fusion will be to use its neutron-rich plasma to convert thorium and U238 into fission fuel for thermal reactors for power for thousands of years. The Energy Park idea is a future possibility.
In the Epilogue, Wallace points out that the world’s real problem is not climate change; it is the lack of sufficient energy for the developing parts of the world. Large parts of the world are turning to coal, consumption of which will reach an all-time high this year. Nothing can stop this. Turning to nuclear power as rapidly as possible, supplemented ultimately by breeding, is the best long-term hope.
Doug Lightfoot, Canadian engineer and author of numerous works on the climate dilemma and the need for worldwide energy.
I enjoyed reading this book. I like some of the simple global analyses that are usually ignored in promoting or denigrating various possible approaches to providing energy for a growing and hopefully more prosperous world for everyone. It is not surprising, given my experience with the Livermore NIF program, that I see a likely a future energy scenario in which laser fusion plays a key role. Direct or indirect drive; pure fusion or fusion breeding? These are complex issues which our descendants will have to sort out. Unfortunately, the environment for discussing the issues that would face a world dominated by solar and wind is poisoned by name calling and obfuscation. Among those who espouse the current “climate crisis” there are many who explicitly reject a key goal expressed in the book, namely that the world should strive to provide enough energy that all of humanity could achieve a level of energy usage similar to what we enjoy in the developed world. I believe that this vocal and influential group would be happy to have a world in which everyone (except perhaps for themselves) had to live on the energy usage now available in the less developed parts of the world. They consider our level of energy usage to be something to be eliminated rather than as a goal for all to achieve. The book provides an excellent challenge to this world view.
John Lindl, one of the lead scientists of the laser fusion project at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He has won the APS Maxwell Prize, the DoE Lawrence Award, and the American Nuclear Society’s Teller Medal.
Dr. Wallace Manheimer’s new book, Mass Delusions, is a fascinating analysis of current mass delusions in the United States and in much of the “developed world.” He focuses on three dangerous delusions: that there is, or will soon be a climate crisis due to emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels; that governments and private individuals should make large investments in controlled nuclear fusion, since it will soon be generating profitable electrical power, thus solving the (non-existent) climate crisis; and that there is no immediate need to develop effective ways to breed Th-232 (thorium with 232 nucleons) and U-238 (uranium with 238 nucleons) into fissionable U-233 and Pu-239 (plutonium with 239 nucleons). The author had a creative career at the Naval Research Laboratory. His assessments should be taken very seriously. The first section on climate is written in a very clear way for non-specialists. The remaining parts of the book, on matters related to nuclear fusion and fission, are an excellent review for readers with a technical background. In the introduction to his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, published in 1841, Charles MacKay wrote: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” Those, who have not succumbed to the delusions discussed by Dr. Manheimer, will remain sane if they read his book. And the book will help others to “recover their senses.”
William Happer, Emeritus Eugene Higgens professor and Cyrus Fogg Brackett professor of physics at Princeton University, winner the APS’s Herbert P. Broida Prize and the Davisson- Germer Prize. Member of the National Academy of Science.
The book “Mass Delusions” by Wallace Manheimer is a delightful read, breezily written, irreverent but always informed, and an entertaining invitation to question all your preconceived notions about energy policy. The point is made that energy is really central to what the world needs — not only for advanced economies but even more so for less advanced economies. Energy is the existential problem — not climate change. The stakes are high — basically civilized society as we know it. And, as the book title suggests, the world is not “getting” the core issues.
Dr. Manheimer has himself been for decades a leading scientist and innovator in several fusion technologies. So he knows the field inside out. You are invited into Dr. Manheimer’s world of far-flung facts and provocative opinions, laced with analogies to other technologies, and replete with insights from history, philosophy, baseball, and religion, all underpinned by Dr. Manheimer’s expert and incredibly wide background in physics and engineering.
Your own prejudices are challenged. The story is centered on how fusion energy might be tapped to solve the world’s energy problem, and how that quest has gone astray. Dr. Manheimer raises well-aimed scientific doubts about both the conventional public- supported approaches to fusion as well as the recently well-funded privately-supported start-up approaches. He also has a dog in the race — the fusion-fission hybrid approach which has been discounted politically by pure fusion enthusiasts and generally shunned by public funding. His thoughtful arguments for this approach invite, or should invite, thorough debate.
Dr. Manheimer provides an introduction to the quest for fusion energy, both from an elementary perspective but also with detailed and informed opinions about its technical progress. He offers bird’s eye view of the field — with an implied warning to specialists not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Whether you agree with him or not — this is a wonderful read for people who are interested in the promise of fusion — and required reading for those in the field who are reminded that the big picture can be lost.
Nat Fisch, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Princeton University, one of the leaders of the Princeton plasma physics effort, winner of the APS Maxwell Prize and the DoE Lawrence Award